How Might a Domestic Violence Charge Impact Your CDL or CDL Application?

People who have professional licenses and certifications are often held to higher standards than others, at least when it comes to keeping those licenses. As a CDL driver, for example, there are expectations that you will drive with a proper standard of care to protect others, the cargo you haul, and the vehicle you drive. Too many traffic violations or other on-the-road issues, in or out of your commercial vehicle, can put your CDL in jeopardy.

But do charges such as domestic violence impact your ability to obtain or maintain a commercial driver’s license? Discover the answers below, including how a criminal defense team can help if you find yourself dealing with domestic violence charges or other potential CDL violations.

Does Domestic Violence Automatically Disqualify You From a CDL?

No, domestic violence charges don’t automatically disqualify you from holding or getting a CDL. However, they can have an impact on your CDL in a number of ways.

First, a history of criminal activity — particularly of a violent nature — may be an issue when you apply for a CDL or try to renew one. Some CDL classifications involve different levels of background checks. For example, the U.S. Department of Transportation and Transportation Security Administration requires that people who get a HAZMAT endorsement undergo a background check.

In the case of the HAZMAT endorsement, if there is anything in your background check that indicates you might be a security risk, the endorsement might be denied. Domestic violence charges, for example, may cause a worry that you are a security risk to others. Again, this is not an automatic determination, and every case is unique.

Another way domestic violence charges can impact your CDL occurs if you end up with a restraining order against you — even if you aren’t convicted of any crimes. The fact that a restraining order exists can lead to a conclusion that you may have violent tendencies or be a security risk. This type of scenario doesn’t lead to an automatic disqualification or denial of a CDL license, but the facts of the case may be considered by licensing boards or others during background checks.

What Else Might Keep You From Getting a CDL?

When it comes to crimes and issues that can keep you from getting or keeping a CDL, traffic violations are more common considerations than domestic violence. If your driving history is peppered with speeding tickets and other traffic violations, you may find it more difficult to obtain a CDL or your current license could be at risk, particularly when it’s time to renew it.

A DUI conviction in New Jersey is automatic grounds for the suspension of your CDL license. If you are convicted of a DUI that involves you driving a passenger vehicle under the influence, you can face a one-year suspension of your CDL. A second DUI conviction can lead to permanent loss of your CDL.

How Should You Defend Yourself Against Domestic Violence Charges?

When someone accuses you of domestic violence, your first response may be defensive. You may be angry that someone is maligning your character in this way or upset at the strain that the accusation is putting on your standing in the family or community. You might also be upset that your relationships with others, such as children, are impacted by the charges.

This is all very understandable, but it’s critical to remain calm and attempt to make logical decisions that protect your rights and set you up for a strong defense. This is true anytime you are facing criminal charges.

To best defend yourself against domestic violence charges, you must:

  • Understand the specifics of the charges against you, including the details of the case and what consequences you might face if convicted
  • Learn about all your options for defense, which could range from plea bargaining to making a case for your innocence in court
  • Plan a sound defense strategy that takes into account all the facts of the case and what might happen in various scenarios

Obviously, you aren’t expected to do all of this on your own. Instead, it can be a good idea to work with a legal professional that is experienced with the criminal justice system and can stand by you throughout the entire process.

When Should You Call an Attorney Regarding Domestic Violence?

Anytime you are charged with a crime, consider reaching out to a criminal defense team as soon as possible. The sooner a lawyer gets involved, the sooner they can start protecting your rights and working toward a more favorable outcome in your case. This is true of domestic violence, DUI charges, and any other criminal charges you might be facing.

Facing criminal charges like domestic violence can be scary. You might feel like the deck is stacked against you, and the criminal justice system can be confusing and daunting. Get some peace of mind by reaching out to a criminal law team for help. The team of former prosecutors at the Bianchi Law Group can help you understand the charges against you and the options you have for moving forward with a defense. Call us today at 862-225-1965 to get started building a criminal defense to protect your future, including your career.